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Women, activists skewer U.K. police department for listing ‘rape’ as a ‘non-emergency’ crime

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A flier put out by Kent Police near one of their stations in Great Britain listed “rape” as a non-emergency incident, enraging women’s rights advocates. 

The BBC reported Wednesday that a flier posted near Maidstone Police station in the U.K. informed residents which “non-emergency inquires” could be made to Kent Police via their website, naming “rape and sexual assault” among them.

This was also the same non-emergency channel that catered to “compliments and complaints” from patrons.

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Police in the U.K. are empowered to arrest people under Under Section 5 of the Public Order Act for causing “harassment, alarm or distress” within the hearing of anyone nearby. (andrewmedina via Getty Images)

An image of the document went viral, enraging women and activists who couldn’t believe the crime could be downgraded to a less urgent category.

The BBC article stated, “Kent Police has come under fire for displaying a sign listing rape and sexual assault as ‘non-emergency’ crimes in a police station.” It shared a picture of the sign as it appeared in a social media post, which read, “The following non-emergency enquiries can be reported online via the Kent Police website.”

Under the bold notice, the flier had the crimes listed: “anti-social behaviour, compliments and complaints, contacting Kent Police (general enquiries), crime (wide range of options), domestic abuse, fraud, hate crime, missing persons, rape and sexual assault,” and “road traffic incidents.”

Twitter user and feminist Jean Hatchet had shared the same image to her social media account and complained about it Wednesday. 

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St. Michaels Church of England primary school in Tenterden, Kent.

St. Michaels Church of England primary school in Tenterden, Kent. (Google Maps)

Voicing her rage towards its contents, Hatchet tweeted, “Barely able to type for the noise of my internal screaming. @kent_police have just told women that Rape and Domestic Abuse are ‘non-emergency’ crimes and not to bother ringing them in to free up call handlers!  No wonder women are dying at the hands of men. For shame!”

The BBC noted that the document was part of Kent Police’s “Click B4 U Call campaign,” which it said, “encouraged people, where suitable, to use online reporting to free up call handlers.”

The outlet quoted Women’s Equality Party chief executive Catherine Smith, who slammed the flier. She declared, “There needs to be a human involved in speaking to the people who experience this. It demonstrates that the police are not prioritising this crime, and it sends a message to women that what happened to them is not something serious.”

After seeing the BBC report Wednesday, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott expressed regret on Twitter, writing, “This poster was completely wrong and totally inappropriate. It should never have been put up and was rightly taken down. Rape and domestic abuse have never been a ‘non-emergency.’ I will always ensure they are treated with the seriousness they deserve.”

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The outlet noted that the poster “has since been taken down” and “has been replaced by one clarifying advice about how best to report crimes to the police.”

Fox News Digital reached out to Kent Police to comment on the backlash to the poster, but has not heard back.



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